Capturing Oregon: A Trek to Proxy Falls

April 22, 2012 (Updated April 23, 2012)
Proxy Falls, a tranquil escape.
Take in the tranquility of Proxy Falls.

Living in Oregon as a professional photographer has his perks. One being the stunning nature of this beautiful state. As a international travel photographer I know what I’m talking about. Together with my wife we have covered over 70 countries for various projects from books to magazine features and commercial clients.

We have been living in Central Oregon for over 14 years now and hardly a day goes by when I am not seduced by the light to go out and shoot images. Recently I drove up to the little western town of Sisters and from there headed into the Cascade Mountains and over barren black lava rock fields of McKenzie Pass.  You can get stunning images of the Three Sisters volcanoes from there. It is a scene out of the Lord of the Rings. A bit like the land of Mordor but with a friendly and scenic Oregon twist to it.

After the pass we parked our car and hiked through the green quiet forest to a lookout point with a stunning view of Proxy Falls. This lookout spot provides the a perfect vantage point for a great picture of the falls using a tele-photo, and of course a tripod. To get a closer look at the falls we climbed down to falls. It is a very moist and mossy environment around the base of the falls due to all the spray from the falling water. As a photographer I often try to add a human element to my landscape photos. Therefore I took our dog and climbed up close to the falls. While my wife pressed the shutter I  tried to hold steady. To get the softness of the falling water we did another slower exposure of the same composition without me and the dog in it.

If you replicate this, eave your camera on the tripod in the exact same position than in the first image you took. Later we combine the two images in layers in Photoshop to show myself and the dog crisp and sharp and waterfall soft and fairy. An overcast day works best for waterfall pictures. This day was sunny but we took the photo late in the afternoon after the falls and the surrounding forest moved into the shade of the ravine.

Needless to say we had a great Oregon outing and a day well spent on location.

Editor’s Note: “Capturing Oregon” brings you the stories of Oregon photographers as they traverse the state to capture its beauty. To see more of Christian’s photography, visit

About The

Christian Heeb
Christian Heeb is a well know international Photographer who lives in Bend, Oregon. Christian has published over 120 books worldwide and his work appears in national and international publications. He is the author of the book Travel Photography and together with his wife and partner Regula Heeb runs the Cascade Center of Photography, a studio, workshop center and gallery devoted to photography in Bend. Christian also leads photo tours worldwide. He loves to share his love for Oregon with other photo enthusiasts and is a contributor to our "Capturing Oregon" photography series.